Project Sol

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Project Sol is the 2015-2016 Balloons Team project to develop effective solar tracking algorithms, high efficiency solar panels, and ultimately equip the Valve-Ballast System with sufficient power for long range flights.

Our mission is to create a UV-tracking solar cell power system. The solar panels must be pointed at the sun at an optimal angle of 28 degrees from vertical (see calculation here). They will be controlled by a mini motor low-speed gearbox that rotates the panels to point towards the sun. The panels are installed on a laser-cut rotating duron base that sits below the styrofoam box housing the motor and electronics. The insulated central box will house a Teensy, Arduino, GPS, and AdafruIt 10 degrees of freedom board. Optimal light will be calculated using six photovoltaic cells around the base of the solar panel rotator and two located on the top of the panels themselves. The cells will be wired into the central box. For this launch, we are using six panels wired in series. The expected voltage in full sunlight is 7 volts open-circuit voltage maximum, with 1.25 amps of short-circuit current. The voltage is approximately .833 volts per solar cell.

Balloon Launches
2014-15 SSI-19202122
2015-16 SSI-23(a) • 2425262728293031323334353637383940414243
2016-17 444546474849505152
2018-19 8386879091
2019-20 929397